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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1828

Vol. I

(Born Ct.)

William W. Mather

(Ap'd Ct.)


William Williams Mather: Born May 24, 1804, Brooklyn, CT.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1823, to July 1, 1828, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut. of Infantry, July 1, 1828.

Second Lieut., 7th Infantry, July 1, 1828.

Served: on frontier duty at Ft. Jesup, La., 1829; at the Military Academy, as Asst. Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology, June 29, 1829, to June 20, 1835; on a Geological Exploration of the

(First Lieut., 7th Infantry, Dec. 4, 1834)

Northwest, June 24 to Dec. 23, 1835; and on frontier duty at Ft. Gibson, I. T., 1835‑36, — and Camp Desire, near Ft. Towson, I. T., 1836.

Resigned, Aug. 31, 1836.

Civil History. — Professor of Chemistry, etc., University of Louisiana, 1836. Geologist of the State of New York (S. E. Quarter), 1836‑44, — of Ohio, 1837‑40, — and of Kentucky, 1838‑39. Professor of Natural Science, University of Ohio, 1842‑45, and 1847‑50 (being Vice-President and Acting President, 1845); and of Geology, Chemistry, and Mineralogy, Marietta College, O., 1846. Geological Surveyor and Mining Engineer in the service of Mining Companies on Lake Superior, 1845‑47. Agricultural Chemist and Corresponding Secretary of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture, 1850‑54. Editor of "Western Agriculturist," 1851‑52. Geological Engineer to ascertain the available mineral resources on the line of the Lexington and Big Sandy Railroad, Ky., 1853; and along the Pittsburg, Marysville, and Cincinnati Railroad, 1855. Erecting furnaces for manufacture of Iron in Lawrence County, O., 1855‑59. Member of the Board of Visitors to the Military Academy, 1855. Author of "Elements of Geology, for the use of Schools," 1833‑38; of various voluminous and elaborate Reports on the Agriculture, Geology, and Mineral Resources of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Western Territories, 1836‑59; and of numerous scientific papers on Agriculture, Mining, Metallurgy, Meteorology, Chemistry, Geology, Mineralogy, etc., 1828‑59. Degree of A. M. conferred by Wesleyan University, Ct., 1833; and of LL. D., by Brown University, R. I., 1856. Member of numerous scientific, historical, and literary associations, 1833‑59.

Died, Feb. 27, 1859, at Columbus, O.: Aged 54.

Biographical Sketch.

Professor William W. Mather was born, May 24, 1804, in Brooklyn, Conn. He was a lineal descendant of the distinguished divine, Richard Mather, who emigrated to this country in 1635; whose son, Increase, was President of Harvard College from 1688 to 1701; and whose grandson was the celebrated Cotton Mather.

Little is known of young Mather till he received a Cadet's appointment through strong but not political influence, aided by the fact that three of his near relatives had done good service in the Revolutionary War.

In 1828 Mather was graduated from the Military Academy, fifteenth in a class whose head was Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Albert E. Church, the able Professor of Mathematics in that institution, and whose twenty-third member was Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jefferson Davis, the ephemeral President of the Southern Confederacy. While yet a student at West Point, Mather, despite many able rivals, took the lead in Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology, for which branches of science he had a natural predilection.

Upon graduation Mather was promoted to the Infantry, and, after a  p413 year's service on the frontier, was sent back to the Academy as Asst. Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology. Here he served for six years as a very efficient instructor, and devoted all of his leisure hours to study and to writing upon these branches for scientific journals or text-books.

Upon leaving West Point, in 1835, he was detailed as Assistant Geologist for the examination of the region from Green Bay, Mich., to Coteau des Prairies, Dak., particularly the valley of St. Peter's River, of which he made a topographical map. At the close of 1835 he rejoined his regiment, and, after a short service on the southwestern frontier, he resigned from the Army, Aug. 31, 1836, to devote the remainder of his life to his favorite pursuits.

His subsequent Professorships; his services as Geologist in the States of New York, Ohio, and Kentucky; his employment as Mining Engineer in the Lake Superior region, and in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts; his occupation for years as an Agricultural Chemist; and his labors as an Author upon various subjects of general science, — we have fully detailed in the record of his services.

His reputation as a scientist brought him the degree of A. M. from Wesleyan University, Conn., in 1833; and of LL. D. from Brown University, R. I., in 1836. He was also a member of various scientific, historical, and literary associations.

At the early age of fifty-four, Mather, in the midst of a life of usefulness, died, Feb. 27, 1859, at Columbus, Ohio. His classmate and friend, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Ivers J. Austin, thus sums up his character:—

"Not possessing the genius which dazzles, he had the intellect which, continually improved by exercise, achieved valuable results by patient and conscientious industry. What duty demanded, that he performed regardless of consequences, either to himself or to others. Not indifferent to fame, he never sought it by doubtful or devious courses. His object was not to enhance his reputation, but faithfully to do the work before him. Through the whole of his active and laborious life of thirty years in the cause of science, in all the bar and important public positions which he occupied, no breath of censure assailed his integrity, 'which was a law of nature with him, rather than a choice or a principle.' . . . Equable in his disposition and gentle in his manners, considerate of others and just in his judgment of them, modest, but manly and self-reliant, he had neither dogmatism nor ostentation. . . . Never elated by success nor depressed by occasional failure, a genial companion, a firm friend, and a zealous Christian, he pursued the even tenor of his way till death, too soon for science and his country, removed him from the earth."

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